Argentina’s Perito Moreno Glacier Collapses

The collapse of the Perito Moreno glacier near the city of El Calafate in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, southern Argentina, attracts thousands of tourists. This year, the leading edge of the glacier collapsed March 4.

The glacier, a massive tongue of ice in the Santa Cruz province that covers 250 square kilometres (97 square miles), advances every year into a lake, known as Lago Argentino.

As Perito Moreno moves forward, it cuts off a river feeding the lake. Water builds up pressure and slowly undermines the ice, forming a tunnel until ice sheets come tumbling down. The phenomenon repeats itself at irregular intervals, with the last major ice falls occurring in 2008, Reuters reports.

Tourists look at the Perito Moreno glacier after the rupture of a massive ice wall near the city of El Calafate in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, southern Argentina, March 4, 2012. (Reuters)

Ice chunks broke off the Perito Moreno glacier near the city of El Calafate in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, southern Argentina, March 2, 2012. (Reuters)

Tourists wait to see the rupture of the leading edge of the Perito Moreno glacier near the city of El Calafate in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, southern Argentina, March 2, 2012. (Reuters)

Tourists look at the Perito Moreno glacier after the rupture of a massive ice wall near the city of El Calafate in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, southern Argentina, March 4, 2012. (Reuters)

The Perito Moreno glacier is seen after the rupture of a massive ice wall near the city of El Calafate in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, southern Argentina, March 4, 2012. (Reuters)

The Perito Moreno glacier is seen after the rupture of a massive ice wall near the city of El Calafate in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, southern Argentina, March 4, 2012. (Reuters)

Tourists wait to see the rupture of the leading edge of the Perito Moreno glacier near the city of El Calafate in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, southern Argentina, March 2, 2012. (Reuters)

A tourist waits to see the rupture of the leading edge of the Perito Moreno glacier near the city of El Calafate in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, southern Argentina, March 2, 2012. (Reuters)

Tourists wait to see the rupture of the leading edge of the Perito Moreno glacier near the city of El Calafate in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, southern Argentina, March 2, 2012. (Reuters)

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